A/N: Apparently 2nd person is my thing for this fandom? This is for Bethany, even though I promised her fluff and this is extremely not fluffy... and Teija, because she looked it over too. Reviews make me happy! :)
Every Other Life
You are not always ready for him, but the days when that mattered are gone. There is nothing passionate about it now, nothing sweet, nothing vaguely awkward. His hands are rough, holding your hips in place and it does not matter what you want. The bed provides little comfort to your knees, your elbows dig into the linens and if he notices your small cry when he enters you, he gives no indication.
He is hard and solid and large, and you feel him in every inch of your body. Your breath feels strangled, but as your hips rise a fraction and your body adjusts to him behind you, and suddenly it is not so bad.
Distantly, you almost wish it were. Your stomach turns a little as you wish this were unwelcome, wish your traitorous voice was not begging him for more, even as your knuckles go white, fisted in the sheets.
His fingers are almost painful when he finds release, his hips bucking against you and your knees give out, lying on your stomach on the sheets.
He is gone almost before you breathe again.
And that is how it goes.
You have come to expect his visits, when you are in Denerim. The nights he does not come to you, you find yourself restless, laying naked in bed and wishing that he would. Thinking of his hands on your hips and the way he fills you. Those nights, as you wait for him, you are more than ready. Without fail your hand snakes its way between your legs and you find your release alone, empty, his ghost smirking at you from somewhere distant in your mind as you cry out, blindly begging for his presence.
But the King cannot always be afforded midnight trips out of his bedchamber, you must bitterly remind yourself as the air cools around your body. He has guards to slip by, a wife to deceive... your stomach twists painfully and you force the thought away.
This was his choice.
The thought does not ease anything at all.
Once again, he has come to you, but something is different. From your place in bed, you hear him undress. Unconsciously, you roll to your stomach, prepared for him, for what these visits bring. This time, however, he does not climb onto your bed. He does not seize your hips and pull you to your knees.
Instead, he just stands there. Biting back terror at the fact this is new and new means change and change means adapting to a different kind of hell, you force yourself to your side, looking at him with what you hope is a neutral expression.
He is standing there, naked and ready and the part of your brain that keeps your heart locked away wants to demand he get on with things. But your eyes meet his and it's not that simple anymore.
You can't remember the last time you looked at him.
He looks sad. Unbelievably, unbearably sad, and when he finally joins you on your bed, his arms pull you close. His hand runs along your back, slowly, trailing heat and fire and something that makes you ache in a different way so you squeeze your eyes shut and reach down between your bodies hoping to distract from whatever foreign sensation is overtaking you.
Your fingers close around him and he gasps against your hair, his arms tensing. Your mouth is hot against his neck as you stroke him, and when he rolls himself atop, you close your eyes and bite back the rush of feeling overwhelming you.
It feels like his hands are everywhere on your body, stroking your breasts, sliding down your stomach, between your thighs... and your eyes fly open when his mouth follows that same path. All of your effort is focused on not sobbing as his hands cup your hips and his tongue darts out and-
This is not how The King treats his mistress.
Dimly, you remember nights when he was just Alistair, your fellow Grey Warden. Nights when tenderness was paramount and he grinned up at you from between your legs. But your eyes are closed and your hands resolutely grip the bed to keep from reaching for his hair. You want to beg him to stop, it is too much, this is not as easy as the faceless beddings that have become your ritual!
Somehow, all you manage is a whimper.
You are walking a fine edge of sanity when he finally rises above you, entering with a swift thrust and holding himself there, buried deep within you. Your knees cradle his hips, hands gripping his arms and you hear his voice, begging your eyes open. He is above you, around you, inside you, and his eyes are so very sad.
The sob comes out then, you cannot help it and his head falls to your shoulder. He is still talking, babbling nonsensically into your collarbone and you try to focus on anything but his words.
"I love you so much. So much. So much."
It breaks through the haze of distraction and you find yourself falling over the edge, crying out and clinging to him as desperately as you had the first time. He is joining you, hips bucking against your own and you are dimly aware that you cling to him, not wanting this beautiful, twisted experience to end.
It does. He kisses you one last time and realization dawns on you.
This is goodbye.
He can't meet your eyes as he dresses, and you curl up beneath the covers, blinking back tears.
"The Queen is pregnant." He speaks, finally. His voice is rough with emotion, thick with sadness and you only think this should hurt more. "I can't, not anymore." He continues, and all you feel is a numb hollow sensation in your chest.
"In every other life, I will be yours."
And then he is gone.
The tears come weeks later. The queen's pregnancy is announced to the Kingdom and your friends keep looking at you as though they expect you to break.
Your friends do not know.
They do not know of how he came to you. They do not know how you let him. Time after time. They do not know that your body aches with emptiness. His visits to your bed had been painful, tearing open the wound in your heart just as it felt it might heal, flooding you with shame and desire and need. But they had made you feel alive.
You do not cry for the love you have lost, that has been gone since you stood before the nobles of Ferelden and pledged fealty to their new King. Gone since he had cast you aside for things that were much more important.
No, that is not why you cry.
Your hand rests on your stomach and you watch the King and Queen from the crowd, announcing the impending addition to their family. She is glowing and he is grinning and the crowd cheers.
With the taint in our blood, it's hard enough for a Grey Warden to have a child on their own. For two of them...?
You will cry because he was wrong. Because you could have stood beside him. You could have been his queen. And inside of you, the evidence grows.
And he will never know.